I'm a married mother of "3 1/2" ;) and the loves of my life are my faith and my family. I've grown in my faith over the last two years since my daughter's adoption, she is the reason why I started this blog in the first place, and I'm so looking forward to watching God move in my heart, and the hearts of others who follow along on our journey towards bringing home one of "the least of these". Special needs adoption is my mission field, whether I'm adopting a child myself, or helping other families get funded, or shouting for waiting children who need families to find them, and I hope you'll come along for the ride and watch what God can accomplish when we say yes to His command to care for the orphan, and go out into the world to be His hands and feet.

Apparent Project Fundraiser

Apparent Project Fundraiser

Hello :)

Hello :)

My Better Half

My Better Half

The Crew

The Crew

The New Guy

The New Guy

Before Adoption

Before Adoption

Two Years After Adoption

Two Years After Adoption

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The End

Today I'm grateful that my adoption is coming to an end! It will be almost a year to the day between when we decided to adopt, and when I walk off the plane with our little miss! It's been a long, hard road but we're at the finish line now and I couldn't be more thankful!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Grateful Post Fail

Sorry I've been a blogging slacker!!! I've been pretty busy!! I'm going to play catch up:

Day Four: I'm thankful for hairbows, because they look adorable on my princess and because without the ability to make and sell them, I never could have gotten this close to bringing her home!!!

Day Five: I'm thankful for soup. Seriously, I love soup so much it deserves to make the list. My favorites are: Cream of Chicken w/ Rice, French Onion, and Chicken Pot Pie soup from Jason's Deli! I live off of soup all fall and winter. :)

Day Six: I'm thankful for matching grants. We've been extended quite a few of them during this process, some as high as $2,000, some as low as $200 but we've always hit them and they've helped us fund our adoption immensely! 

Day Seven: I'm thankful for Netflix. I know how bad that sounds, but you guys don't know how my toddler rolls. He's a wild man and the only time I can do basic things like a load a dishwasher, or take a shower, is when Barney is on. Thanks to Netflix, Barney can be on whenever I want!

Day Eight: I'm thankful that I was given another year on this earth. I just celebrated my 29th birthday, and I'm looking forward to hitting the big 3-0 next year!

Day Nine: I'm thankful for Christmas. That's so cheesy, I know...but I love Christmas, I love what it represents religiously, and I love what it represents for little kids with Santa, and leaving out cookies, and listening for reindeer hoofs on the rooftop. It's a magical time and the older I get, the more into it I am! I'm ready to put up the tree, bake cookies, and listen to Christmas carols!

So that catches me up on the thankful posts!!!!


One other thing I would like to mention, a Christmas sale! 50% of the sales will go to Beatrice on Reece's Rainbow. This sweet girl has been the topic of recent blog posts and I would like to shout for her again in this one! She's SO adorable and has so much potential! She just needs a Mama! Please check out her link here:

And here is the link the sale that I have going on. If you like Christmas hairbows, you'll love this sale! Half of all sales go directly to Beatrice's grant fund!

I hope you'll check out the links, let's give Beatrice the gift of a family this Christmas!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful Day 3 - Ice

Yup, you read the title correctly! Today (well, yesterday since I'm a day late posting this....) I am thankful for ICE! I know that might sound nuts, who is THAT grateful for frozen water? How about a girl who LOVES it, and doesn't get much of it in Mother Russia! A guy I met on the train (yes, I spoke to strangers) told me that the reason Russian's don't use much ice is because they think being cold makes you sick, therefore they don't like their drinks too cold...and it's also why they over-bundle their children. Interesting stuff, but I'll take my chances because I drink everything cold, I even like my coffee iced.

So, what was the first thing I wanted when I got home from Russia?

Sonic Ice

I have a sick obsession with little pellets of chewy ice like Sonic serves with their drinks. Everytime I leave the house, even for something as simple as running to the post office, my car seems to find its way to Sonic for a Route 44 cup of water with extra ice. That is seriously the only thing I ever get at Sonic because their food looks and smells disgusting, but the ice...ooooh yeah!

If I have fellow ice lovers out there who are in my local area, you might want to check out the ice at Zaxby's and the Pilot gas station by exit 85 on I-40. They both have Sonic-like ice pellets too.

So, to the awesome person who decided one day to pour water into a tray and freeze it....may you move ever closer to sainthood, you are my hero. ;)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Matching Grant!

Did you notice the new widget on the left? We have a matching grant of $1,500!!! If we hit this goal, we will be fully funded and one step closer to having Kenzi home! I'm scheduled to leave in 15 days to pick our girl up! I can't believe it's so close!!! 

There are TONS of ways to help us hit this goal! I'll list them out for you here!


New stuff is being added everyday so check back often! A little birdie told me that some fabulous handbags are going to be added soon!

***Mary Kay***

Who doesn't love makeup?! If you purchase through this link, you'll be helping Kenzi come home! Join the FB event here:


I've heard about 31 for a while but never ordered. I finally bit the bullet and ordered a weekender bag for my upcoming trip and I can promise you that the quality is top notch! People rave about the utility totes too...Christmas is coming! Stock up guys! :)


I've never had a Scentsy candle, and I"m not going to lie...I'm jealous of those who have! I've smelled them and they are DIVINE...I'm obsessed with candles and I want one so bad! They make awesome gifts! (Mom, if you're reading this...they make AWESOME GIFTS..hint hint...) :)

So, as you can see, there are LOTS of ways you can help Kenzi come home!!! If you plan on doing any holiday shopping with these companies, we would be so grateful if you chose to buy through the consultant's who are hosting these fundraisers for us. 

Also, I would like to thank our friend Alison who put together all of the company fundraisers for us. She knew we were strapped for time, and cash between trips and she took the ball and ran with it on our behalf. I'm so grateful for your help, friend!

I need to thank my adoption sisters too. Vanessa--thank you for all your help with the auction. Your hands are so full with your littles and you still made time to help my daughter, I'm so grateful. Katie, you've been through just as many horrific detours with your adoption as we have, yet you still are here helping ME bring Kenzi home. You're an awesome friend, thank you so much. Everyone else who has donated to our auction, thank you!!! It means so much to us.

Last but not least...N...I know for a fact that we wouldn't be at this point without you. Thank you will NEVER be enough. You're awesome. <3

***Other Ways To Help***

If you're not into auctions, or Mary Kay, or Scentsy, or Thirty-One...or if you're a guy and you're looking at this stuff like "um...yeah...not my cup of tea, lady..." there is still a way to help! Good old fashioned donations! We've tried very hard to always offer something in exchange for people's generosity during this process. I've have made more hairbows than I can count...the people at Hobby Lobby know my name, and my kids names...including Kenzi's...by heart! :) But, if nothing we offer suits you, and you would still like to help get this princess home, you can make a donation to our chipin on the right, or if you would like to make a tax deductible donation, you can follow this link and donate directly to Kenzi's through Reece's Rainbow:

Thank you!!!!

Thankful Post Day 2 - David

I would like to dedicate today's thankful post to my husband David. When I hear my single friends say that all the good guys are taken, when I see couples breaking up for various reasons...I send a silent prayer up and thank God that I was blessed enough to find such an awesome person to spend my life with. That's not to say that we have a perfect marriage, nothing is perfect, and this past year we have been pushed to the limits with all the stress from the adoption but thankfully we fought our way back from the edge and we're now stronger because of it. 

I hit the jackpot when it comes to selecting a father for my kids. There are things that I've just grown to expect of him that when I do a reality check, most men/fathers NEVER do. Sadly, I take him for granted sometimes and I've been working hard to change that. We're talking about a guy who did just as many up-all-nights as I did, who changed just as many diapers, made just as many bottles...and I'm a stay at home mom. He would take on half of the responsibility around the house and with the kids when they were demanding babies, then go to work! Who does that?! He loses his patience somethings and has to "tag me in" (as we call it) when he needs a break to just relax, but I do the same thing sometimes. He loves his kids, and one day they're going to be floored when they realize they had something that not everyone else gets, a loving dedicated father.

And seriously, how many guys would sign up to adopt a child with special needs? He's amazing. I love watching him with our kids. <3


Not only is Dave a great dad, he's an awesome husband. He is the kind of guy who will surprise you on your birthday with something you casually mentioned you liked 6 months earlier. I was using his phone once and needed to remember something so I opened the notepad on his iphone and found a list he has been keeping. When we're out with the kids, grocery shopping, whatever...If I say "oh that's awesome! I would like to have one of those!" he writes it down so he will have ideas for my birthday and Christmas. He's so sweet and thoughtful! My birthday is next week and we've agreed that with the cost of the adoption we aren't doing gifts for each other for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, etc. He said "I got you something for your birthday...it's not a 'present' because you need it." He got me boots, a jacket, scarf, gloves, and hat for my trip to Russia. It doesn't get that cold in Tennessee so I am usually fine in a hoodie, and he knew I wouldn't spend the money to get that stuff myself, so he bought it for me because he wanted me to be warm and because he knows me so well he says "and it's all from Target and I used the 5% off card you have". <3

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Happy November everyone! I decided that for the month of November, I'm going to blog everyday about something I'm grateful for. They might be big serious things, or little silly things, but I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, so here goes!

Day 1 - My children

I know, I know...I can hear the boo's already "geez, Cil...could be you be a little more cliche?" but it's TRUE...and after spending 18 days without my boys and only spending 5 with my sweet girl before telling her goodbye, I'm an emotional wreck about these awesome little people! I'll try to post a pic that shows each of their personalities. <3

My sweet child. He is so kindhearted, loves to help people, and just has a really tender spirit. If you hurt, he hurts, so I try to keep things in his little world happy and carefree. He's growing up so fast. It seems like he went from a little boy to a tween in a matter of months. I'm not quite ready to face the fact that he won't be my baby for  much longer. Aside from being a sweetie, he's also stinkin' cute...his future wife is going to hit the jackpot with this one. ;)

Meet Jack.
What can I say about this crazy ball of energy? He can most often be found lurking around the kitchen, naked, asking for string cheese. If he isn't lurking around naked, he's probably watching Barney...naked. The kid can't stand clothing! He's wild, into everything, never sits still, never stops talking, and right when you think you're going to straight up LOSE IT...he walks up to you, says "hold me mommy", lays his head on your shoulder and says "I loves you". For as independent at he thinks he is, he still has moments where he needs you, and the baby in him comes out. I love those moments. When he's going to sleep at night and he curls up around my arm to ensure that I can't leave the room without him noticing, when he gets tired at the park and just wants to snuggle for a few minutes before running off to play again. He has never been a snuggler the way his brother was, and still is, so I cherish those moments with him..who knows when the last time he lets me hold him will be!

This pic sums her up pretty well. Blurry, because she's so busy you can't get many good pics of her! Fingers coiled in my hair because the future hair stylist is OBSESSED with "fixing" (aka ripping out) hair, and last but not least...staring holes through your eyes. She stares at you so deeply, and for so long...what is she seeing? What is she thinking? I know there is SO MUCH going on in her little mind, it's going to be amazing to watch her learn and grow and start expressing herself more and more. She loves attention, undivided attention! In a room full of toys, the only toy she's interested in playing with is YOU. Hold her, rock her, tickle her, snuggle her, fly her through the air...it doesn't matter WHAT you're doing, as long as she has your full focus. My diva in training. :)


I never thought I would have three kids. That's a LOT of babies! Maybe not to some but to me, it's a really big family. Dylan was an only child for seven years, so that's proof of where my mentality was for a long time regarding family size. I guess as you get older, your opinions change, you shift your focus and redefine what matters. Material things used to rate very high in my book, and now they don't even make the list. I don't care if I have the latest version of a phone or computer, expensive clothes and jewelry, it just stopped mattering to me. I am far more content in my jeans, Wal-Mart hoodie, and wrapping up in my kids than I ever was in designer clothes. I have time for one more cliche: Love is all that matters. <3

Monday, October 29, 2012

Amazon Affiliate Program

Hey guys! With the holidays fast approaching, I just wanted to take a second to "plug" our Amazon Affiliate Program! If you shop at Amazon, please use the link on our blog. It's on the right hand side, about half way down the page, or you can use this link:

Kenzi's Affiliate Link

By using our link, you are helping us bring Kenzi home! 5% of your purchase will go to Kenzi's adoption fund, or her medical care fund depending on when you use the link! It's a small way to make a big difference to our princess!


Special Request

In roughly 3 hours my friend's daughter will be going under the knife for what seems like the millionth time in her short, sweet life. She is having a piece of her skull removed from her stomach, where it was put to continue growing, and placed back on her head. She was the victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome back in August and is truly a miracle baby. I will admit that when I saw the first photos of her lying in the hospital, I couldn't wrap my head around how such a tiny person could fight hard enough to overcome what had been done to her...but Cheyenne has shocked us all with her strength, and what has stood out the most to me is how HAPPY she still is. What a sweet spirit she has. I know grown men who couldn't fight as hard as this princess has! 

Please keep Chey in your hearts and prayers as she undergoes this procedure!

I would like to share another blog post with you that talks about Cheyenne, and shows just how many people she has in her corner! I shared Cheyenne's story in the Reece's Rainbow community and so many people came together to pray for her recovery. Please read the post above. It's so touching.

Also, I would again like to say thank you to Amy, Chey's mom, who even though she is enduring so much with her own daughter right now, still took the time to try and help me bring my daughter home. Many of you know that Cheyenne has a facebook page with over 100,000 fans! So many people have rallied behind Chey and Amy and really wrapped them up in prayers and well wishes. Amy used this outlet to ask for prayers for my Kenzi and because of it I gained over 100 facebook friends in a day! So many well wishes, some donations, and just a general sense of people caring not only about Kenzi, but all the children like Kenzi who have been left in orphanages around the world. Thank you Amy for taking a tragedy and doing your part to bless other children through it. We all love Chey and will be there with you every step of the way!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

28 Days Later

I'm sitting our hotel room, feeling awful due to the bug I caught somewhere in Russia (Hello, Guardia...how nice to host you...not). It's 9am, I'm watching BBC World....coverage about Hurricane Sandy. I wonder if our flight to NYC is going to happen.

Moscow is a beautiful city. We are staying in the hotel for the most part, partly because of my stomach bug, partly to keep from spending money. Moscow is so expensive! It's been fun though. I'm lucky to be married to a guy who can make ANYTHING hysterical. 

I've had a lot of time to reflect on this adoption journey. I'm not big on melodrama, I would rather find the humor in any given situation, so I'd be lying if I said I had some great epiphany and now everything we've been through makes sense. It doesn't. None of this makes sense to me! I've tried over and over to figure out WHY we've had so many hiccups, bumps in the road, whatever you want to call them. What is the MEANING of all of this. What is God trying to teach me? Where is the LESSON, what am I missing?!

As I sit here, and reflect, and wonder, and theorize...it hits me like a ton of bricks. All of this is happening because this is just how life rolls sometimes...peaks and valleys. Sometimes you're the windshield...sometimes you're the bug. You have two choices when life deals you a crappy hand, throw in the towel and declare you're just not strong enough for this, or put your big girl panties on and deal with it. 

I'm so glad I decided to roll with the punches because the reward for doing so will be here in 28 days. I'll walk off a plane, in my hometown, with my daughter on my hip, and this nightmare of a journey will be over, and a new journey will begin.

I just have to claw my way past that finish line. I can do 28 days standing on my head, right? We have an auction starting up on the 30th to help get some of the last $$ put together so I can come back to Mother Russia and ransom my sweet girl. 

So, what is the current "thing" standing between me and my kiddo? It's $3,000. Which seems so ridiculous. After all the waiting, redtape, paperwork, THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars, it all comes down to $3,000. Will it come together before I head back to Kenzi's region? I certainly hope so. Will a miracle happen? Only time will tell. Maybe there really is a big lesson to be learned in this stage of the game, maybe it's faith. I have 19 days to go before I board a plane back to Kenzi's region, and I don't know how I'm going to do it. I don't know if the money will be there to make it happen. I'm just trusting God, and the Universe, and mankind in general to come through and make this happen for the sake of a little girl. It is taking all the faith I can muster to just pray, and watch, and hope and wait to see the pieces fall in place. 

We'll hopefully have a happy ending to this story in 28 days. <3

A Journey in Pictures, Court Trip Visit Two

A journey in pictures - Court Trip Visit One

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Latest

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has been there for us through this latest turn of events. For those that don't know, the Judge who approved Kenzi's adoption also waived the 30 day waiting period that should have allowed us to bring her home with us during our court trip. Because of red tape and many things falling through the cracks, that was not allowed to happen. What that means is that I will be going back to Kenzi's region in a few weeks to bring her home. We spent many, many days extra in Russia trying to get the kinks ironed out so she would be able to come home with us and receive medical treatment, but it just wasn't going to happen. Because we spent so much extra money to combine the 2nd and 3rd trips in order to bring her home earlier, we are now  not funded for my return trip. 

A friend who's own daughter is facing medical struggles right now has a prayer page for her daughter with thousands of viewers, and she was kind enough to ask those people to pray for my Kenzi as well. Many people asked how they can help, what they can do, etc and that is what this blogpost is about.

How you can help get Kenzi home:


Prayer is the number one thing we are requesting. We have faith that God will move mountains to bring our daughter home, and that He will heal her heart. We really covet your prayers during this time for Kenzi, and for us, and for our sweet boys who have sacrificed a lot of time with us in order to bring their sister home.


I know a lot of people hold the opinion that if you can't afford adoption, you can't afford the child and that just isn't true. There is so much red tape to cut through to bring these kids home and unfortunately the ransom for their lives is extremely high. Things pop up, "hiccups" you might call them, and these hiccups can cost thousands of dollars. Unfortunately we have had MORE than our fair share of  "hiccups" and it isn't easy for us to ask for help but we feel like Kenzi deserves parents who will do ANYTHING to help her, including putting aside their pride and asking for help when it's needed. It hasn't been easy, but it's what she needs so it's what we'll do.

We have a donation "chip in" account set up.

But if you would like to make a tax deductible donation through Reece's Rainbow, you can follow THIS LINK

Thank you all for your interest, and your love and support...donations and prayers. We are floored by the number of people who care about our daughter. You're all amazing.

My sweet girl having her passport photo taken...one step closer!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Orphan No More - Part Three

Ok, so I don't have any pics from court day of Dave and I because I was too scared stupid to even think about taking pics. Dave did, however, manage to take a pic of our friends after their court appearance and before ours when we met up for sushi!

Court wasn't as scary as I had psyched myself up for...Dave got most of the questions, and they were pretty basic. I got asked a few questions...bada bing, bada boom...court is over, our adoption is approved aaaaaaand our 30 day waiting period is over!

Awesome right?

Not so much. Even though the judge waived the 30 day wait, no one knew what to do to actually get all of the paperwork we needed prior to the 30 days. We changed our plane tickets from Friday to the following Thursday to give our team some time to iron out the kinks.

While that was going on, we were busy taking pics of this beautiful city to put in an album for our princess to see when she's older. We want her to know her roots, where she's from, etc so we decided to make the best of this additional time in Russia and learn all about our daughters culture.

Sadly, we learned today that we will not be able to bring our daughter home on this trip. I will coming back alone in November to bring her home. This is heartbreaking for us, as well as a huge financial blow. We were funded for 3 trips, we even had a family lined up to donate our extra funds to as a matching grant because we would have been close to $2,000 in the black had we been able to bring our girl home with us. The cost of switching our plane tickets, losing the money we used to book our NYC hotel, losing the money we spent to buy Kenz a plane ticket, staying 6 additional days in this hotel, plus food, then food for 5 days in Moscow (we were blessed to have a friend use points to pay for our hotel in Moscow), and so on and so forth...has put us a little in the red, and now I have to buy myself a plane ticket to come back, Kenzi a plane ticket to come home, hotel here for I think 4-5 days plus food, then Moscow again...we're about $3,000 short and I have roughly 3 weeks when I get home to put it together. We took down our FSP on the blog (we thought we were finally done!) but if you would like to help you can donate here:

We don't expect anyone to use the above link. You have all been so wonderful, so generous, it's been humbling to say the least to watch our friends, as well as complete strangers come together to give this little girl a family. We would like to ask you to pray for Kenzi while we're gone. Please pray for her heart to hold out just one more month. She's a strong little girl, we just need God to give her a little more strength to hang on for us a little longer.

So, I don't want to leave this blog post on a down note, so here are some pics with our sweet pea from this morning.